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  3.  Summit: Making Supermarkets in Japan More Enjoyable

2024.5.20

Summit: Making Supermarkets in Japan More Enjoyable

In this series, we shine a spotlight on group companies of Sumitomo Corporation. This time, we focus on “Summit,” a supermarket chain with 124 stores in the metropolitan area. Since its founding in 1963, Summit has been in business for over 60 years, supported by its commitment to honest work and its vision of making supermarkets in Japan more enjoyable, resonating with customers, local communities, suppliers, and employees alike. We explore the unique Summit differentiators that set it apart from other supermarkets.

  • Retail SBU,
    Retail Business Data Marketing Unit

    Yuichiro Tsuchihashi

    Joined Sumitomo Corporation in 2011. He has been consistently involved in the retail sector, managing drugstore operations and overseeing drugstore business in Taiwan before working with Summit from 2020. After spending a year on secondment at Summit, experiencing both store operations and management planning, he now oversees domestic supermarket business and new initiatives at Sumitomo Corporation’s headquarters. His recommended Summit product is the “Shake 10 Times and Eat!” salad series.

  • Retail SBU,
    Retail Business Japan Unit

    Michihiro Fujimoto

    Joined Sumitomo Corporation in 2015. He has worked in the produce business in Europe, the Americas, and Asia and has been promoting digital transformation (DX) at Summit since May 2023. Having been a produce buyer at Summit for two years, he is committed to making Summit a “normal” part of local life. His favorite Summit product is the awardwinning “Citrus Sudachi Scented! 5 Types of Dashi Flavored with Mushrooms and Lotus Root” developed by the produce buyer.

Summit
Summit Summit, Inc.

Business: Retail chain of food supermarkets and other lifestyle-related products
Established: July 29, 1963
Revenue: 333,987 billion yen (as of the end of March 2024)
Number of Stores: 124 (as of the end of March 2024)
Number of Employees: Approximately 18,000 (as of the end of December 2023)

Keyword1
Unique ideas that make shopping enjoyable

Yuichiro Tsuchihashi

To ensure customers shop with confidence and excitement, Summit employees independently think and act to implement unique initiatives not found in other food supermarkets.

For instance, Summit has introduced inquiry staff dedicated solely to customer interaction, without engaging in stocking tasks, a rare approach in food supermarkets. They assist not only with inquiries about products and layout but also engage in casual conversations, offering truly heartfelt customer service.
Additionally, Summit’s samples corner constantly offers various products for tasting, allowing customers to sample truly recommended items without the obligation to purchase.
Inspired by a TV program, the “First Shopping Experience” is an exciting event where young children try shopping on their own, from finding products to paying and bagging them, earning a certificate upon completion. This project has not only inspired children and families but also brought joy to other customers and employees.
Another popular initiative, “the Summit Cup,” features food and beverage manufacturers creating original dishes and recipes using their products, with winners determined by customer votes. The commitment of each company’s president, appearing in flyers and store posters, creates excitement among customers, partners, and the sales floor.

At the heart of these activities is Summit’s management philosophy of “honest work,” aligning Sumitomo’s 400-year-old business philosophy. By offering transparent dealings to customers, symbiotic relationships to partners, and a fair and safe workplace for employees, Summit consistently advances these initiatives. This culture of innovation at the grassroots level is a key strength of Summit.

Keyword2
A store where we share the sustenance of life

Yuichiro Tsuchihashi

“Sustenance of life” extends beyond products to include sources of mental and life energy. Summit strives to be a shop that supports the local community’s spirits and energy by addressing life changes and social issues, confidently pursuing initiatives aligned with the mission of “sharing sustenance of life,” even if they do not directly profit.

For example, as part of the “GO GREEN Challenge Declaration,” Summit addresses five key themes in collaboration not just with employees but also customers, partners, and the local community, in alignment with the SDGs.
The “Mogu Mogu Challenge” is a specific measure to reduce food waste, where customers can exchange collected “Mogu Nii” stickers from products nearing expiration for donations or prizes, aiming for a future with zero food waste. Since December 2019, over 17 million meals’ worth of stickers have been collected.

In collaboration with KOKUBU GROUP, Sumitomo Corporation Group’s drugstore “Tomod’s,” some stores feature a “Health Community Corner (KenComi)” where customers can check their blood pressure, bone health, and skin age, with nutrition advice from Tomod’s registered dietitians, aligning with the theme of “food and health” and attracting not just elderly customers but families with children as well.

Keyword3
DX with employees in mind

Michihiro Fujimoto

Summit is dedicated to creating an environment where each employee can work vibrantly and with enthusiasm. Over the years, Summit has refined a unique approach of allocating personnel according to skills for the amount of work needed for planned sales. However, in April 2023, Summit automated the creation of workforce plans, enabling AI to take over tasks traditionally performed by department chiefs. Additionally, by using AI for generating sales and customer traffic plans, tasks usually undertaken by store managers, Summit has reduced administrative work, allowing store staff to focus more on customer interaction.
The creation of systems that do not solely rely on the hard work of the staff has led to optimized and manageable operations, supporting the creation of stores where customers can enjoy shopping. Moving forward, Summit intends to continuously promote digital transformation (DX) aimed at enhancing customer experience and employee work conditions.

Summit is a supermarket that actively engages in new initiatives for the benefit of customers, driven by ideas from the store level. We believe that by visiting our stores, customers will surely experience the unique enjoyment that only Summit can offer.
Among our highly recommended products, the taste of our deli foods is particularly noteworthy. Thanks to the collaboration between departments such as fresh produce, meat, and seafood, we are able to bring together our finest ingredients to create delicious deli foods for your enjoyment.

As we move forward, we aim to make Japanese supermarkets more enjoyable and to continue being an indispensable part of the community, making Summit a preferred choice. Please look forward to what we have in store!

A new store that symbolizes the Summit today!
The LaLa Terrace Harumi Flag Store is Now Open!

On March 1, 2024, the Lala Terrace Harumi Flag Store opened in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. This store is located in the central commercial facility of Harumi Flag, which is built on the former site of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Village. With the theme “Together with a new town, a new lifestyle, and a new Summit,” it targets dual-income households and young families, offering a variety of health-conscious and nature-oriented products, bulk items, frozen foods, and convenient pre-prepared items. In the fresh produce section, customers can find high-quality ingredients, as well as Summit’s specialty prepared foods, desserts, and sandwiches made in-house. Not only supporting our customers’ dietary habits, but also taking on the role of fostering connections within the local community, we will collaborate with everyone in the area to create a new town together.

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